The virtual mind, body, and spirit connection in conversation
Our blog is a good starting point for conversations but the real deal comes when we gather together, face-to-face — in mind, body and spirit. Engaging dialogue allows us to talk with one another unscripted, unedited, messy, with real spirit energy. To make this happen for a real conversation about body image call Robyn Hussa Farrell, our CEO, and bring NORMAL programs to your community and make significant impact in the lives of people that need to talk about body image and disordered eating. Blogging and finding information with fat-friendly-friends online are great, but bringing discussion into your schools and communities are invaluable. Technology is replacing something that humans need and that is to connect to with other humans with their material body, mind and spirits with all the verbal and nonverbal nuances that cannot truly be transmitted virtually.
“We’re lonely, but we’re afraid of intimacy. And so from social networks to sociable robots, we’re designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.” — Sherry Turkle
Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone? (http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together.html)
My question for you is this: IS technology killing communication?
Here are my thoughts.
Virtual Mind (Edited Consciousness)
Are we consciously communicating the real deal or a selectively edited version of the person that we want the world to see? Upon request for a bio which is something I always struggle with, I wrote an un-bio and emailed to myself before writing the “real” bio that I ultimately sent NORMAL’s new President (Caroline Rothstein). I did this because I know that readers would be uncomfortable with my truth and finally sent the socially acceptable version of my public self. However, there is something about being in a room with people in which the human spirit is connected that can create an environment in which the truth is not threatening. This is the kind of forum that NORMAL programs provide, which can be life changing and potentially save a life.
Virtual Spirit (Short Circuit Emotions)
Having a rationale conversation takes time. Thinking about what we want to say, how we want to say it and then controlling our emotions in certain contexts. Could all of us be so accustomed to having it our way at fast food restaurants that we imagine texting and emoticons creating short-cut meaningful communication and get good results? Furthermore, are we so disconnected from our bodies after years of texting that the only emotions we recognize range from extreme happiness, hopelessness, to hatred and nothing else because they are powerful primate emotions? In order to be connected and learn more humane expressions and the articulation of the full range of emotions, it takes time which lead us to a better understanding of ourselves and those we encounter. There are no short cuts and we all deserve and are worthy of the rich expression of our emotional selves. If we don’t take time to understand ourselves then we cannot possibly understand or have the capacity to have empathy for others.
Virtual Body (Bring Your Own Body)
Technology creates a barrier for communicating our body, mind, and spirits. It creates a false sense of anonymity and power. Indeed, a blog, email or text allows us to hide our bodies behind instead of bringing our own physical body to the conversation. The truth is that we are afraid to handle the real feelings that we have and do not want to deal with the feelings of others and the responsibility that face-to-face communication requires. When our material bodies are with another human spirit in their material body we immediately become aware of the responsibility we have to the physical being in front of us instead of ignore or claim ignorance. Our virtual bodies have made way for the excuses of our self-absorbed selves. We do not know how or would prefer not to do the work that it takes to have a conversation that may or may not go our way. Technology, like food, never says no, it allows us to be full on, with our mind, our emotions and our virtual bodies that we can create in the “perfect” image that we have in our personally constructed reality.
It seems that technology is making us “sick” by disconnecting us instead of connecting us.
For more information I recommend the following three resources:
Media Effects is one theory to demonstrate impact of mass media but Uses and Gratification Theory contends that individuals only use and are attracted to media that meet cognitive, affective, personal integrative, social and tension free needs.
““We’re lonely, but we’re afraid of intimacy. And so from social networks to sociable robots, we’re designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.”” — Sherry Turkle
Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?
“You possess an intuitive intelligence so powerful it can
help you heal, relieve stress, and find emotional freedom”—Dr. Judith Orloff: